A jarang kepang performance.
What would you much rather have: changing the rules for the sake of conserving your culture or keeping strictly to the rules with the probability of it bleeding to death? I wanted to write about a certain cultural aspect of a tribe in Suriname, but along the way my mind started asking me this fundamental question.
For now I don't have the answer to that question, but I have to put things in perspective for myself. There are a lot cultural traditions that are being held to certain standards and rules. I'm usually not the one who's aversive to rules. Heck, I used to be the poster child for class president and the sorts 😅
But the reason why I'm asking myself this question is because I've seen many traditions bleed out or at the brink of dying out. For example the traditional religious Afro-Surinamese music, that can only be played on specific religious occasions and by certain people who are initiated in the traditions. The risk here is that less musicians will go for the initiation process, because they would much rather play music and maybe do not want to be bound by the rules that come with the initiation.
Dancing Awassa, to traditional Afro-Surinamese music.
Other examples are the gamelan and jaran kepang, for which the younger generation has less interest in. The first is an orchestra of Javanese musical instruments, of which the musicians are ageing, due to the sound or style not evolving in Suriname. The youth is more focused on modern western styled music and sounds. The second, jaran kepang, is a traditional dance, where the dancers get into trance and are able to do things they normally couldn't. Also here are the dancers bound by strict rules.
If it were up to me I would advice to let certain things, like the gamelan music, evolve and let the musicians integrate modern sounds into their repertoire. Let it adapt with the times. The classical music should also be recorded, so that it's not totally lost for future generations.
And what if it were up to you? Would you be adamant and stick to the rules set by forefathers or rather have the culture evolve?